“There was something about this room …” is what I heard, repeatedly, in reference to the all-GamuT room, put together by local NJ dealer Woodbridge Stereo. Something …. Maybe it was the speakers, the new Superior RS-5 ($31,990/pair) playing in the room. These speakers are 2.5-way floor-standing loudspeakers, shown in black and not to their best effect, sadly — in “real life”, these gently sculpted creatures are works of art. Michael Vamos of GamuT Audio was on hand to point out a couple of interesting/odd design elements — including the double-ring radiating tweeter, the sliced-cone mid, and the wood-fiber cone woofers.
“Wood?” I asked. “Why wood? Why not aluminum or something like that?”
“Too slow,” Vamos said. “With the wood, you get stiffness and speed but with a far more natural tone and harmonics. And with these wood dust-caps in the center, the woofer is far more piston-like,” he said, making a punching-fist gesture. I found no reason to argue with this, based on what I was hearing.
He also pointed out the extremely unusual binding posts — all arranged in a linear array. If you scroll all the way down, you can see the tasty, chunky terminals. The RS-5 is an 89dB speaker, 4Ω, with 31Hz-60kHz performance. The enclosure is extremely damped, with over an inch of laminations on the sides walls, as well as grooved contours on those sides, to help with resonance. Overall, the new cabinet upgrades (over the outgoing “S” versions) is a 50% improvement in structural inertness.
The Superior Series is new, and features several new models — the RS3 ($19,500/pair) is a 2-way stand mount. The RS7 ($40k) is a true 3-way that features a “DC-coupled” midrange (no caps in the signal path), and the driver complement adds a second 7″ wood-fiber woofer to the dual-ring tweet and sliced-cone mid. The RS-9, the new flagship at $115k/pair, was sitting in the corner showing off the second finish-option for the new Superior line — “blanco” (white ash). I think that finish is extremely sweet-looking. Aside from all the internal and hidden tweaks and upgrades, the RS9 adds a third wood-fiber woofer to the mix. I can’t afford pretty much anything in this line, but if I could, I’d be on that RS-9 like white on rice.
The electronics in the room were also, all-GamuT. I’ve heard “good things” about their old amplifiers, but aside from the occasional blip here and there, there hasn’t been a whole lot to read. A shame, really, and something … well, perhaps it’s something yours truly could rectify! Hmm. Just a suggestion.
On the deck were a pair of M250i mono block amplifiers ($12,900 each, bottom rack), below a D3i dual-mono pre ($8,290) and a CD3 disc spinner ($7,990). The lattermost is just that, a CD player. It’s been highly regarded and well-reviewed, but don’t expect a USB input or SACD support. This is, at least to some, a pinnacle in CD playback design and that might well be enough. Given the absurdly high quality of sound coming out of this system, I think I’d be okay with that.
With regard to the former-most, these amplifiers are not precisely new, but they are new-to-me. 250 watts into 8Ω, with 500 watts in 4Ω, these are some very impressive amplifiers. Fitted out in a rather upscale-minimalist enclosure with large heat-sinks off the side, I’m told that the sound is very open and with the right speakers, there are some interesting options. From Robert Harley’s review of the D200i (the stereo version):
“There are two pairs of output binding posts per channel, but there is more to them than the provision for bi-wiring. The inner pair is called “normal” and has an inductor in parallel with a resistor between the output section of the amplifier and its corresponding binding posts. The outer pair is called “direct” and has no added inductor and resistor (Zobel) circuit. The “normal” Z-circuit pair is offered to help handle low-impedance speakers or highly capacitive cable loads. Provided the speaker has two pairs of binding posts (i.e., it is bi-wireable) GamuT recommends connecting the inner/normal pair to the speaker driver’s terminal with the trickiest impedance—the bass driver terminals, in the case of a typical dynamic cone type speaker, or the tweeter driver terminals, in the case of an electrostatic speaker. I experimented with both the inner and outer pairs and preferred the outer/direct pair.”
That’s pretty fancy, in my book. All the wire was GamuT, too — Wormhole Signature balanced interconnects (starting at $2,990/pair) and a prototype of the Wormhole Reference speaker cables ($13,990/3m pair). I’m told that the final, shipping product will include a leather wrapping (!).
All in all, this was a remarkable sounding room. Another Best-in-Show contender and another brand to add to my “Must-Explore” list.